Insurance agents vs Union: Judgment set for Oct 1

SINGAPORE - The judge presiding over the case between three insurance agents and their union has reserved judgment. The verdict will be known on Oct 1.

The final hearing in the suit, where insurance agents allege that the union did not act in their best interests, took place in the High Court on Monday.

The case began in March after three NTUC Income agents took the Singapore Insurance Employees' Union (SIEU) to court, alleging that the latter had failed to represent their interests adequately in a dispute the agents had with NTUC Income.

The trio were among 660 agents asked to sign new contracts last year by the insurance cooperative indicating that they were self-employed rather than employees of NTUC Income. After signing the contracts, however, the agents - Mr Philip Lim Paw Seng, Mr Ng Kee Wah and Mr Tan Huan - filed a suit arguing that SIEU had, together with NTUC Income, "strong-armed" agents into signing the contracts by telling them they would lose their livelihoods otherwise.

They wanted the court to declare that SIEU had failed in its duties and to direct the union to refer the dispute to the Industrial Arbitration Court.

In his defence, SIEU president Terry Lee argued that the union "had done all that it could have reasonably done" for the agents, and that the agents were no worse off under the new contracts.